Inês Santos Silva – CEO of Aliados Consulting, Co-Founder of Portuguese Women in Tech

By on , in Europe, Interviews

 “More than anything we need to change the perception of what it means (for girls) to work in technology. Girls and boys don’t really understand the range of roles and possibilities of a career in technology”

Inês Santos Silva is the CEO of Aliados Consulting, an innovation consulting firm that empowers people and organisations to move towards a sustainable future.

On the side, Inês is also a Co-Founder of Portuguese Women in Tech, a community focused on supporting women in technology. 

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

I’m the CEO of Aliados Consulting, an innovation consulting firm that empowers people and organisations to move towards a sustainable future. On the side I’m also a Co-Founder of Portuguese Women in Tech, a community focused on supporting women in technology. 

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

My professional journey started back in 2010, I happened to be the right place at the right time. I fell in love with tech entrepreneurship and started organizing the very first tech/startup events/meet-ups in Porto, Portugal. I worked for and with tech startups (incubation and acceleration programs) and innovation ever since. 

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

When I joined university, there were no Iphone’s or Facebook, it was still quite new. Things we take for granted these days didn’t exist back then. In 2011, together with some friends we launched a pre-accelerator program, Startup Pirates and we expanded it from Portugal to 20 countries around the world on a zero-dollar budget. We were able to do that with the help of technologies like Facebook and Skype. Doing the same today would be much easier and faster and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

$12 trillion missed opportunity. According to McKinsey & Company advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth! 

But there is so much to do. In Portugal, as an example, only 14.4% of the professionals working in IT are women. 

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech? 

More than anything we need to change the perception of what it means to work in technology.

Girls and boys don’t really understand the range of roles and possibilities of a career in technology. And girls don’t have enough role models that can inspired them to pursuit a career in technology.

This seems easy to change, but it really touches upon deep beliefs in our society that are difficult to change. But I’m optimistic about what we can do with a combination of short term and long term initiatives. 

What was the best decision in your career?

Right after college, I applied and was hired as community manager at a startup in Switzerland. It was quite different from everything that I’ve done before and quite different from the expected path of a recent business graduate. But this experience gave me a global outlook that was essential for everything I’ve done since. 

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

Learn to enjoy the present.

For too long, I was only focused on the future. I was doing a lot but never really enjoying it, always thinking about my next step. I wish I had enjoyed more of those special moments. 

Inês Santos Silva is the CEO of Aliados Consulting, an innovation consulting firm that empowers people and organisations to move towards a sustainable future. Inês is also a Co-Founder of Portuguese Women in Tech, a community focused on supporting women in technology. 

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